Calgary's equestrian and ranching communities celebrated the life of one of their own with a memorial service for a well-known Canadian show jumper.

James "Bryan" Anderson, 44, died in a riding accident on his ranch south of Calgary last week.

Bryan's wife Cari Anderson said she's received hundreds of messages of condolence since the accident, from fellow competitors, breeders and former students.

Bryan Anderson

Bryan Anderson died at the age of 44.

“His legacy, I would say, would be how many people he's helped throughout the world with horses. How many people he taught, what a kind gentle person he was and how many people respected him.”

He was a natural rider who rode by his instincts and had a deep respect for horses, she said.

“He went out with what he loved doing, riding free on the fields. That's what Bryan loved.”

Her husband's death was a freak accident, she said. He was out riding on his ranch on Sept. 11 with another person when his horse tripped and fell on him. Anderson slipped into a coma and died of internal injuries.

Student wins division

Brigitte McDonald credits Anderson for her success, including a first place finish in her division at the CET Regional Prairie Finals this past weekend at Spruce Meadows.

“Pretty much everything I know about horses I learned from him,” she said.

Her coach died just two days before her competition.

“I thought it was a great tribute to him. I only won because of what he taught me,” she said.

A public memorial for Anderson was held at Spruce Meadows Tuesday morning.